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Making It Harder to Carry Condoms

On April 23rd more than one hundred community advocates and activists traveled to Albany, NY to meet with legislators and educate them about the problem with using condoms as evidence.

Condoms as evidence refers to the practice by police and prosecutors of confiscating condoms during a stop and frisk, and then using those condoms as evidence of prostitution. According to a report in the San Francisco Examiner, currently only San Francisco and Washington, DC have policies in place to prevent the use of condoms as evidence. And until recently the practice was continuing in San Francisco, despite a written agreement.

The Red Umbrella Project, one of the groups that organized the NY action, points out that the practice is discriminatory in many of the same ways that other profiling which guide stop and frisk practices are. In this case, individuals who are dressed in a way that the police determine look "sex worky" and trans and gender non-conforming people are targeted and stopped whether or not they are engaging in any behaviors that seem suspicious. If condoms are found they may be harassed or arrested based solely on their possession of a condom.

People who are sex workers are put in particular danger by the practice as they may choose not to carry condoms in order to reduce their risk of arrest. In this way, they are being asked to choose between safer sex and arrest.

The situation in New York City seems particularly ludicrous given the NYC Department of Health has an extensive free condom distribution campaign, which includes their own NYC branded condoms. While one city department gives out condoms, another confiscates them.

READ MORE:

Red Umbrella Project: No Condoms As Evidence in New York

SF Examiner: S.F. Law Enforcement to Stop Using Condoms to Arrest, Prosecute Sex Workers

How Much Does Porn Influence Behavior?

It's not hard to find anecdotal indications that porn ruins lives. On websites and television talk shows, in magazine articles and political speeches, sexually explicit material (SEM), or porn, is a familiar and easy target. As the Internet transformed the availability of SEM for anyone with an Internet connection, concern increased about the impact watching porn has on young people.

Previous research into the effect of SEM tended to focus on high-risk sexual behaviors and on attitudes toward sexual violence.

A new study, published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, offers a broader glimpse at the potential impact of SEM consumption on the sexuality of adolescents and young adults in the Netherlands.

The survey research was conducted online and included 4,600 young people between 15- and 25-years-old. Participants were asked about the quality and quantity of SEM they consumed and what format it most often took (e.g. DVD, magazine, TV, online). They were asked about three categories of sexual behaviors (defined as "adventurous sex," "partner experience," and "transactional sex"). They were also given measures of sexual self-esteem, sexual sensation seeking, assertiveness, attitudes toward sexual coercion, and their familial and social relationships. Finally a range of demographic data were collected.

They found that 88% of men and 45% of women viewed some SEM in the past 12 months. The majority of the material was described by participants as "hardcore" and was viewed online. …

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